Novel of the week: Milk Fed by Melissa Broder
A surprisingly funny novel charting a young woman’s escape from anorexia
“It may seem impossible to write a funny book about eating disorders,” said Melissa Katsoulis in The Times. Yet somehow, Melissa Broder has managed it. In Milk Fed, she charts a young woman’s escape from anorexia – via an affair with a fat server at a frozen yoghurt parlour. Skinny, stylish Rachel works in the LA film industry, and her life is dominated by obsessive calorie counting. One day, while ordering a low-fat yoghurt, she meets Miriam, an extremely large and “Rabelaisian” woman from a “big Jewish Orthodox family”. The pair become lovers, and Rachel becomes able to express not only her “carnal desire”, but also “her long-suppressed yearning to be properly fed”. Milk Fed may sound “a bit disgusting and weird”, but it’s often “genuinely hilarious”.
I wasn’t seduced by Rachel’s strange, “incest-centric” sexual fantasies, said Lucinda Rosenfeld in The New York Times. Yet overall, this is a “deliciously droll” novel, which “bravely questions the particularly female lionisation of thin” – and suggests that the remedy lies in “bodily liberation”.
Bloomsbury Circus 304pp £16.99; The Week Bookshop £13.99
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